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Wednesday, 12 December 1973
Page: 2693


Senator MULVIHILL (NEW SOUTH WALES) -I ask the Minister for Repatriation: In the face of the increasing weekend highway motor accident carnage, what immediate role can the modern facilities of the Concord Repatriation Hospital play to cope with such road victims in metropolitan Sydney? If the ambit of the use to which such hospital facilities are put is too wide, can ex-servicemen suffering from non-repatriation illnesses be granted hospitalisation at this establishment?


Senator BISHOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) - The Government recently approved the establishment of such a clinic at Concord, and planning for it is well established.

The recommendation was made by the Repatriation Commission and also by the local hospital authorities. The thinking of the medical staffs also was that its availability would be of advantage to them and the proposal was also welcomed in the district. In addition the Concord Repatriation Hospital is consulting with the New South Wales Hospitals Commission to see to what extent the facilities of the Concord Hospital can help other hospitals in that vicinity. Since the decision was taken in April by the Government to open up available bed space in repatriation hospitals, there has been an increase in occupancy at the Concord Hospital from something like six to approximately sixty. This figure includes civilians or ex-servicemen who do not receive repatriation entitlements, and it could also include some staff. One of the reasons for the rate of occupancy not increasing at a greater rate is that some of the wards are still closed because of a shortage of staff at the hospital generally. The administration is seeking to open those wards by getting the required staff, in which case, of course, more facilities will be available for those people who fall into the categories I have mentioned. At the present time throughout Australia approximately 150 people who do not fall within repatriation categories are now in repatriation hospitals.







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